History of Narakasura
The legend of Narakasura is important in the history of Assam, particularly Kamarupa; since Narakasura is cited as the forefather of all three dynasties that ruled Kamarupa in historical times. He is also associated with the Hindu belief of the shakti goddess and with Kamakhya. Narakasura and his kingdom, Pragjyotisha, find mention in both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. His son, Bhagadatta, is said to have fought for the Kauravas in the Mahabharata battle. In the 7th century copper place writings, Narakasura is claimed to be the initiator of the Varman dynasty.
Myths of Narakasura
The Narakasura myth gets the most extensive explanation in the ‘Upapurana’ called ‘Kalika Purana’. There are several myths about Narakasura, some of which have been provided below:
Narakasura’s Proposal to Goddess Kamakshya: Once, Narakasura wanted to marry Goddess Kamakshya. When he proposed her, she mischievously put a clause before him that if he would be capable to build a staircase from the bottom of the Nilachal Hill to a temple in one night before the cock crows to indicate daylight, then she would marry him. Narakasura took it as a challenge and tried all with his power to do this. He was almost about to achieve the work before sunrise. When she got this news, she fearfully choked a cock and gave the intuition of sunrise to Narakasura. Deceived by the deception, Narakasura thought that it was an unsuccessful job and left it half way throughout. Later, he chased the cock and killed it. Now the place is known as ‘Kukurakata’ situated in the district of Darrang in Assam. The unfinished staircase is known as ‘Mekhelauja Path’.
Death of Narakasura: He brought all the kingdoms on earth under his control. Lord Vishnu promised the sufferers that he would attend to this issue, when he would be incarnated as Lord Krishna. A relative of Krishna's wife Satyabhama, Aditi approached Satyabhama for help. When Satyabhama heard of the Narakasura’s ailing action against women and his actions with Aditi, she was incensed. Satyabhama approached Lord Krishna for the authorization to wage a battle against Narakasura. Lord Krishna attacked the castle of Narakasura, riding his vahana Garuda with Satyabhama. Narakasura seized 11 ‘Akshauhinis’ that he unleashed on Lord Krishna. ‘Akshauhini’ is a troupe of chariots, elephants, cavalry and infantry. However, Lord Krishna slew them all. Before Narakasura’s death, he requested a boon from his mother, that everybody should commemorate his death with colourful light. Therefore his death day is celebrated as ‘Naraka Chaturdashi’ - the day before Diwali.